High-performance, but soft as old blue jeans
December 25, 2009
I think I’ve found a new favorite pair of ski pants.
I’ve long skied in hard-shell pants simply for sure-fire protection against moisture and cold weather, but such pants always pose temperature-control problems. As locals know, it can be a comfortable 32 degrees at the base of Aspen Highlands, but the same day up on the ridge of Highland Bowl it can easily blow a mean and frigid gale. On such days, it’s important to be able to shed a layer or open a zipper when you heat up, and then bundle up again when you’re back on a cold chairlift.
Of course, shedding a layer is easy with jackets, base-layer shirts and other upper-body gear, but not so simple with ski pants and long underwear.
Enter the Cloudveil Symmetry Pant, a $185 softshell product that’s amazingly comfortable, stretchy and breathable – suitable for both lift-served skiing and backcountry touring. The Symmetry pants feel like a loose-fitting pair of old blue jeans, but they stretch easily for aggressive skiing or high-stepping up a boot trail. The “Cyclone” softshell fabric somehow sheds melting snow and keeps my legs dry, but also breathes nicely so I don’t overheat while exercising.
And they’re not noisy like hardshells, so I can sneak out of the bedroom early in the morning to skin up Tiehack without waking the wife.
The Symmetrys come in three colors: Black Ink (pictured), Black and Toasted.
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I haven’t worn the pants yet on a sub-zero day, so I don’t know how they’ll feel in bitter cold. I also don’t know if they’d shed snow in a wet, spring snowstorm. But based on a handful of skinning and skiing excursions thus far, and on Jackson, Wyo.-based Cloudveil’s stated commitment to authentic product testing, I’m optimistic.
I’ve owned softshell jackets before and loved them, but I never thought a softshell pant could be as versatile as this one. I’ll still hang on to my hardshell ski pants for certain weather conditions, but these Symmetry drawers are my new first choice for most Aspen-area ski days.
Hell, they’re comfortable enough that I’ll keep them on even after stumbling into work late on a powder day.